A Review of Gran Torino, a Movie by Clint Eastwood
Would you be able to An American drama film directed and produced by Clint Eastwood which has gained recognition worldwide particularly because of Clintwood’s appealing directing style. It was recognized by the American Drama Institute as one of the Ten Best Films of 2008 and featured for the very first time the writer Nick Schenk who later won laurels for his script. Clint Eastwood demonstrates, through Mr. Walt, is that if your past negatively affects your life and they way you see things then its best to let go from it and start a new beginning. An intimate film told with great humor, Gran Torino is a cinematic masterpiece. This film succeeds in its development in portraying the aspects involving multicultural communications and the bond formed by people from two extremely different generations.
Mr. Walt is portrayed as an arrogant racist Korean War veteran with his prized possession, a Gran Torino who lives in a neighborhood filled with gangs and crimes. It is clearly shown in the beginning that his children did not have much love to give him and wanted to send him to an old age home. Therefore, he prefers not to talk to them. He hates the fact that the neighborhood was filled with Hmong people. The state worsens when Thao his young Hmong neighbor falls into the wrong company of his cousin brother and tries to steal the most precious item in Mr. Walts life, the Torino. But things start to change when he mistakenly saves Thao’s life who was forcefully being taken away by his cousin to do unacceptable things which he had rejected to do after realizing that stealing Mr. Walt’s car was just wrong. Mr. Walt was just trying to get the gang away from his lawn and had no intensions of saving a life. Sue, Thaos sister, is a wise young girl and tries to converse with him. But the guilt of the Korean War pulls him aback. It gets better when he progressively overcomes this guilt by giving Sue a chance to introduce the Hmong culture by having lunch in her house. Mr. Walt also mingles with Thao and as the film progresses Thao is seen doing something very ironic, cleaning the Gran Torino, the same car he had tried to steal. The movie takes a sudden shift in gears when the cousin randomly fires a couple of bullets on Thaos house and then rapes Sue. Seeing this Thao gets hungry for revenge and blood but Mr. Walt tells him to have patience and that it’s best to have a plan. Little did Thao know that Mr. Walt’s plan was to leave Thao behind and face the gang in front of the whole neighborhood without a gun. Mr. Walt gave them the unexpected by showing up with a gun. Which lead to the climax scene, his death. The film thus, starts with a funeral and ends with a funeral.
The theme of the film highlights the relationship between the main characters even with the huge generation gap where Mr. Walt seems to be as old as 70 and Sue and Thao fall in the 15-25 age categories. This huge generation gap was the main reason why Mr Walt was able to make friends. He was never able to communicate with people his own age like the old grandma sitting in the porch. One funny instance where this was clearly visible when Mr. Walt steps on his lawn and comments on the woman whilst spitting out something from his mouth, the old grandma in return says “Why does this American man still live here when everybody else has left” and spits a huge amount of some sort of tea from her mouth showing that she hates him more than he does.
We can also relate such experience in our lives. Haven’t we all had great time mingling with our grandparents?
The movie creates a racial atmosphere from the beginning. As we go through, we see that with people like Walt it becomes very hard for expatriates like the Hmong people to live in the country peacefully, the reason being Walt’s experience in the Korean War where he killed a number of Hmong people. His guilt keeps him from being open minded and stops him from mingling with his Hmong neighbors. For instance, when Mr. Walt tells Sue that “You should be hanging out with your own people, Hmong people”. The question here is why can’t Sue hang out with an American guy? Whats wrong with that?
Have you given your dad or your grandfather the love he deserves?
February 2, 2023
February 2, 2023